According to a recent report by NBC, an Alabama resident Teiranni Kidd has filed a lawsuit against Springhill Medical Center, claiming that a ransomware attack on the hospital’s network led to the death of Kidd’s newborn baby.
In 2019, representatives of Springhill publicly revealed the hospital had fallen victim to a “network security incident”, which caused severe problems for the hospital’s network infrastructure. Despite recognizing a major problem, the hospital continued to see patients, while simultaneously turning some away due to the severity of the hack.
Kidd alleges that Springhill employees failed to inform her about the hospital ransomware attack, which ultimately led to her newborn baby’s death as a result of failing to administer critical tests for health monitoring. The baby was born with severe brain damage, as a result of the umbilical cord being wrapped around its neck. The lawsuit claims that, had Kidd been aware of the severity of the ransomware attack, she would have received care in another facility.
This tragedy points out two very relevant discussion points that our society needs to urgently address:the serious rise in cybercrime, and our dependence on digital infrastructure for health services. If businesses and organizations want to continue to successfully operate in the digital word, then network security needs to be a top priority moving forward. Hackers understand that many networks outside of tech firms can easily be exploited, especially after the recent surge in digital activity as a result of the pandemic. Because of this, leaders need to face the reality of the risks in the digital world and equip their networks with the most advanced security features available.
Not only should organizations put a higher emphasis on security, but those dealing with health-related services should consider isolating critical tests and procedures that run on digital technology. Ransomware attacks are devastating enough from a financial perspective, but criminals should never have the opportunity to exploit medical procedures that are needed to keep patients healthy. If the health service industry wants to make sure similar tragedies never transpire, measures need to be taken to guarantee life-saving infrastructure runs independently, and securely, from all other processes.
Edited by Maurice Nagle